Advances in drilling technologies have completely revolutionized the ways in which we can obtain natural gas in the United States.  These advances have unlocked opportunities to use shale gas as a viable natural gas resource and have aided in reserves and supplies being projected at historic highs. The U.S. has now surpassed Russia as the world's largest producer of natural gas and experts believe that with these advancements in natural gas extraction, we have enough natural gas in this country to meet our needs for generations to come.

Rockford Republican Senator Dave Syverson and Senator Pat McGuire chair the Senate Manufacturing Caucus. On March 13th, they hosted a breakfast for members of the Manufacturing Caucus. House and Senate Democrats and Republicans from all parts of Illinois joined us for a briefing on fracking.

Senator McGuire has expressed interested in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for three reasons. The first is that fracking could generate thousands of jobs in southeastern Illinois, one of the most impoverished areas of our state. The second is because Illinois oil and natural gas extracted through fracking could provide low-cost energy to Will County refineries and manufacturing plants. Lower energy costs make it more likely these firms will stay here, expand here, and hire additional local residents. Third, fracking requires steel tube and pipe. Fracking in eastern states has spurred steelmakers to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to increase tube and pipe production around Youngstown, Ohio. Illinois fracking could have a similar effect and put Illinois steelworkers back to work at area mills.

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Category: Legislative updates

For the last two years Illinois has been the only state where concealed carry was entirely illegal. In December 2012, a panel of three appellate court judges struck down the longtime Illinois ban by determining that its blanket approach was unlawful. The court gave lawmakers 180 days to pass legislation that authorized concealed carry in some form. Attorney General Lisa Madigan appealed to the full 7th Circuit Court for review, but her request was denied. Lawmakers are now working on legislation in response to the court order and other high-profile gun control issues such as an assault weapons ban.


There are very promising signs of movement in the concealed carry debate happening in Springfield. Most notably, there is a bipartisan effort to move legislation forward. An inner city Chicago Democrat has teamed up with a downstate Republican (who is also a former sheriff) in an attempt to draft legislation that will appease both sides of the aisle and public safety, as well as bridge the geographic and demographic divide on gun ownership and use in Illinois.

Category: Legislative updates

(click the "play" button above to listen to Sen. McGuire's interview with WJOL about pension reform)

We all know that the pension crisis is severe. The prospect that in the next fiscal year we will need to devote more than $6 billion to the five state pension plans hangs over us. That gargantuan pension obligation is crowding out state funding for education, human services, public safety and health care. It also makes it tough for Illinois to sell the bonds necessary for the state share of capital projects, such as Joliet Junior College’s new downtown Joliet building.

I am a co-sponsor of SB 2404, one of several pension reform bills. That bill is still in committee, so on March 20 I helped pass the amended SB 1. This bill makes changes in the K-12 teachers’ pension, which can save tens of billions of dollars. The bill does not touch the pensions of already retired teachers.

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Category: Legislative updates